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Lausanne's BIG-GAME design studio celebrates its 15th anniversary at mudac
The first object designed and produced by Hong Kong-based start-up CLIP, with which BIG-GAME collaborates, was for Swiss Airlines: a box for serving meals on medium-haul flights. © BIG GAME.


LAUSANNE.- For the 15th anniversary of their studio, BIG-GAME, designers Augustin Scott de Martinville, Elric Petit and Grégoire Jeanmonod present ensembles of everyday objects whose formal vocabulary is simple, functional and optimistic.

From a wine bottle you might see at the supermarket to a chair held in the MOMA’s permanent collection, from a collaboration with Japanese ceramicists to a furniture design for Ikea, the work of this Lausanne-based trio is recognised both in Switzerland and internationally. Their designs are characterised by the usefulness, craftsmanship, quality and elegance that have seduced companies worldwide.

Rather than creating a mere showroom, the designers of BIG-GAME immerse us in their creative process, describing a specific aspect of the development of each work. Ensembles of objects are presented on bare panels on the ground for a dense, immediate visual impact. The exhibition also contains a wealth of anecdotes and sources of inspiration behind the designers’ quest for functionality and durability – two crucial elements in today’s hyper-consumerist world. And in a second path through the exhibition, at just the right height for kids, the designers put a fun twist on the world of industrial design.

Three men and a company
“We started working together in 2004 because we were friends. And now, fifteen years later, we’re still friends. It’s our greatest achievement.” That’s how Augustin Scott de Martinville, Grégoire Jeanmonod and Elric Petit, the three founding members of BIG-GAME, like to open each public presentation of their studio. It’s a testament to both their sense of humour and their dedication – not only to their agency, but also to their work as designers. But the light-hearted tone of those words shouldn’t be underestimated: behind them lies a combination of hard work and a remarkable ability to navigate today’s international design industry.

Everything started on Wednesday, 13 April 2005, when the three freshly-minted product-design graduates took their places at booth A.23 of the Salone Satellite, Milan’s annual furniture fair. They were there to help open the week-long design festival. Their particular section of the fair – dedicated to new talent – turned out to be BIG-GAME’s launching pad. There, they presented ANIMALS, a series of plywood hunting trophies that are easy to assemble and mount on the wall. The trophies, originally made for a workshop, became their first product when they were picked up by the French accessory brand Moustache, which is still producing them today.

The trophies also inspired the name of their future studio: “Initially, we had a bit of trouble with the name online, people kept thinking we were a gambling site or a retailer for basketball equipment,” Grégoire says with a smile. “We’ve even been contacted by hunting magazines. It started as a bit of a joke, but in the end it stuck.” BIG-GAME is also a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the trio’s ambition.

In practical terms, an abstract studio name allows the three partners to speak with one voice. Typically, they ask to be quoted collectively when they give interviews. (This was a rare exception.) “We do everything as a team. No one has a particular area of expertise. If one of us is absent, the studio can still function,” explains Augustin. Grégoire elaborates: “Even now, we still talk about every step in the process. Decisions have to be unanimous, we must all agree. If we don’t, we take a step back in the process and rethink it. It’s a constant back and forth.” Elric adds, “Of course, by now I can predict more or less how the others will react. But every once in a while, a UFO pops up: someone comes out with some unexpected idea or detail.” The BOLD chair was one such surprise. It stands out from the more sober products they typically design. But when a UFO appears, “it’s like magic.” ---Excerpt from an interview with BIG-GAME by Anniina Koivu

Object stories
Everyday objects immerses visitors in BIG-GAME’s creative process by describing a specific aspect of how each of their products was developed. Ensembles of objects are presented on bare panels on the ground for a dense, immediate visual impact. The exhibition also contains a wealth of anecdotes and sources of inspiration behind the designers’ quest for functionality and durability – two crucial elements in today’s hyper-consumerist world.

BOLD
In 2004 we started experimenting with shaped metal-tube chairs inspired by classic Bauhaus pieces. The logical next step was to make a chair that was 100% tube. We were fascinated by the idea of a continuous line “drawing” a three-dimensional object. After visiting the Belgian upholstery company Drisag, we had the idea of adding polyurethane foam padding directly around a metal tube to create a chair that looked like it was all lines. After extensive research and tests, we found a sock factory that would knit an extra-long tube to serve as the textile covering the foam. In reference to the line getting thicker, we called the chair BOLD, after the thicker version of a typeface. In 2009, Stéphane Arriubergé and Massimiliano Iorio created the furniture company Moustache, and the BOLD chair became the first object in their catalogue, followed a few years later by a bench of the same name.

SWISS BENTO
The first object designed and produced by Hong Kong-based start-up CLIP, with which BIG-GAME collaborates, was for Swiss Airlines: a box for serving meals on medium-haul flights. Alerted by the cabin crew as to the amount of waste generated by disposable packaging, Swiss was looking for a container that could be reused at least one hundred times. The SWISS BENTO makes for a more pleasant travel experience for passengers, while simplifying the work of the cabin crew and drastically reducing the amount of waste generated. The box is compact and stacks efficiently with the cutlery on top. A standard trolley drawer holds 12 boxes.

FUMIDAI
As part of our consultancy work for Muji in Japan, in 2016 we had the opportunity to design a product for Idée, a brand belonging to the same group. We put a new spin on a classic piece of Japanese furniture, the FUMIDAI, which is a cross between a stool and a stepladder, often also used for storage. We added a cork top, giving it a contemporary look and making it comfortable to the touch.





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